The Kansas City Chiefs’ rich history dates back to 1960, when it entered the American Football League (AFL) as a charter member with a different name — the Dallas Texans. In 1962, the Texans signed quarterback Len Dawson, who led them to AFL titles in his initial 1962 season, four years later (as the Chiefs) in 1966 and three years after that in 1969.
That year, Dawson and the Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Dawson was named Super Bowl MVP after throwing for 142 yards and a touchdown. Dawson played with some all-time Chiefs — including Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell — during his tenure, but given his position as starting quarterback, he was long thought to be the franchise’s greatest player, and perhaps somewhat definitively ... that was, until Derrick Thomas came along.
Thomas will forever be seen as Kansas City’s top defensive player after finishing his career with 126.5 sacks over 11 seasons. Thomas, who was tragically taken too soon at the age of 33, is still viewed as one of the most dominant players the league has ever seen, and we’re only left to wonder what his final numbers would have looked like. It is difficult to imagine his decade of defensive dominance will ever be repeated — especially for the same franchise.
The Chiefs have had many important players over the years, but when it comes to their greatest, the presence of any debate will typically come down to three names — Dawson, Thomas and their current quarterback, Patrick Mahomes (We found this to actually be the case in our offseason “Ranking the Chiefs” series last year in which we asked you to weigh in). I chose Mahomes in my current ranking — and believe when his career is over, he will be the organization’s undisputed choice.
In this post, we’ll recall the G.O.A.T.’s greatests to date:
Greatest regular-season play
Mahomes has been said — through just three years as a starter — to have a Hall of Fame career’s worth of highlights. This is a point I agree with, which made picking his greatest regular-season play extremely difficult.
For this category, I traveled back to Mahomes’ MVP season in 2018. It is Week 14, and the game is very much on the line. With Baltimore leading by a touchdown, Mahomes is forced to roll out to his right on fourth-and-9. Nine yards. The quarterback only needs nine, yet he sees an open Tyreek Hill 45 yards down the field and he completes an on-the-run pass for a first down (officially 48 yards).
If it had not been clear before, this play made it so: quarterback play in Kansas City was different now. A few plays later, the Chiefs tied it up and won the game in overtime.
Greatest playoff play
The Chiefs would have certainly not had time to run Wasp (hat-tip to those who think that play should be here) if it was not for the play of Mahomes in the AFC title game — and more specifically, this 27-yard run for a touchdown.
Trailing 17-14 to the Tennessee Titans, Mahomes rolled out to his left, evaded two tackles, tiptoed 20-plus yards down the sideline, then shimmied three more defenders to find the end zone and give the Chiefs a lead they never relinquished.
The quarterback added icing to the cake with his Red Raider flex as Arrowhead Stadium erupted.
Greatest pre- and post-game outfit
Patrick Mahomes showing up to Arrowhead in a Mets jersey — a salute to his father, Pat, who played Major League Baseball from 1992 to 2003. His career included a season with the Mets in 1999. pic.twitter.com/lYyuGzRamf— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) October 21, 2018
Mahomes’ pre- and post-game attire has grown to become a point to watch on Sundays, and we wouldn’t be doing all of his looks justice by failing to mention the ruby slippers in New Orleans or the Starter jacket-shades ensemble that’s become iconic.
But for this category, I chose the New York Mets jersey in 2018 — a tribute to his father, Patrick Mahomes I. It is well known now that the senior Mahomes played at the highest level of baseball for 11 years before becoming a minor league journeyman for another six.
Head coach Andy Reid has been asked countless times about the 25-year-old’s maturity at such a young age, and the consistent answer is the fact that he was able to spend time with his father in locker rooms as a child. His father re-paid the tribute a year later, during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl season.
Last year Pat Mahomes wore his dad's Mets jersey to the game. Now his dad is wearing his Chiefs jersey at the game pic.twitter.com/3Itm7mp3GV— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 7, 2019
This headline has too many to consider, which goes to show just how much the quarterback has accomplished in such a short time. It is hard to argue that Mahomes hasn’t had the best-ever start to a professional football career, especially considering he plays the sport’s most important position.
At 24 years (and 138 days) old, Mahomes became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP, as the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, Mahomes became the youngest quarterback in NFL history — at 25 years (and 143 days) old — to start in two Super Bowls.
My pick here — given this is a post for Arrowhead Pride — is the fact that Mahomes was named the franchise’s first-ever Most Valuable Player. It is a sign of what he has done to change the course of the organization’s history, and much more — a sign of things to come.